Despite the fact that martial law was introduced in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the legal system of our country continues to function fully. Among other things, law enforcement officers investigate various criminal offenses. Interrogation remains one of the main tools for capturing and obtaining important information. What changes occurred in the conduct of interrogation under martial law? Specialists of our law firm Prykhodko and Partners will tell you about this in more detail.
Legislative framework of the issue
The war made quite serious corrections to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine. Let us consider in more detail part 4 of article 9 and part 11 of article 615 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine.
Among other things, the court can find a reasonable justification for the decision that was made, with relevant testimony. They are provided during the interrogation. The interrogation is conducted by a prosecutor or an investigator. These can be statements of different participants in criminal proceedings, for example, a suspect or a victim in criminal proceedings initiated under martial law.
The above-mentioned testimony is used in court proceedings in cases where the conduct and results of this interrogation were recorded using the available technical means of video recording. If we are talking about the questioning of the suspect, the participation of a defense attorney, i.e., the accompaniment of a professional lawyer, is a mandatory condition.
In other words, the video recording of testimony is the factual basis for the evidence base in court. Important: the use of a video recording of an interrogation under martial law is not restricted. What it means? Testimony obtained during video recording can be considered as evidence in court even after its completion.
Peculiarities of escorting during interrogation during martial law
As indicated above, extrajudicial testimony may be used in martial law. The main condition is compliance with all procedural actions and the availability of a complete video recording of the interrogation. These statements can be used by the court without any restrictions. This applies to both victims and witnesses, as well as suspects. Such interrogation is carried out exclusively by the prosecutor.
Procedural guarantees provide for the following actions:
- Explaining the interrogated person’s rights.
For example, he has the right not to testify against himself (requirements of Article 224 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).
- The right to defend or cross-examine a witness by a person accused of committing an offence.
Therefore, the judge, based on the use of the video recording, can be satisfied that the testimony was given without any pressure or illegal coercion. If the judge has any doubts, he has the option not to take this evidence into account (of course, in the case of proving guilt beyond a so-called “reasonable doubt”). In addition, in some cases, re-interrogation can be carried out (if possible) directly within the walls of the court.
If, at the stage of consideration of a criminal case in court, there is a pronounced danger to a person’s health/life, which is connected with the active phase of hostilities in the region of his residence, a video recording of the person’s testimony may be used. At the same time, it is worth noting that a very important factor is the absence of doubts or objections confirmed by other evidence in other participants of a valid court session.
Therefore, the main condition of interrogation under the conditions of martial law is ensuring the guarantee of all interests and rights of all parties to criminal proceedings regulated by current Ukrainian legislation. In addition, thanks to the help of professional lawyers of Prykhodko and Partners, you will be able to avoid abuse by representatives of law enforcement agencies.
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